Berkeley’s Unique Obon

Berkeley Obon 2018

By Rev. Ken Yamada

A crowd of people wearing Japanese clothing recently formed a circle on a Berkeley, California, street and began dancing, following the Buddhist observance “Obon.” Even more unusual, this was a gathering of two different Jodo Shinshu Buddhist groups—Nishi Honganji and Higashi Honganji.

For more than 30 years, the two Berkeley temples have held a joint Obon dance, each alternating as host. This tradition is ironic considering their histories rooted in conflict that resulted in their split—twice. Continue reading “Berkeley’s Unique Obon”